Ever since the board of directors of the Community Center Project (CCP) announced that it could not afford to refurbish the Victorian building at 1800 Market, and instead would knock it down, the temperature has been rising among preservationists. And, on October 10, the Friends of 1800 Market was formed, a group dedicated to preserving that Victorian as part of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community center.
"The idea of demolishing a landmark site in this city is deplorable and no unnecessary," said Rob Bregoff, one of the founders of the group. "The San Francisco Heritage [Foundation] has approached the board and told them that they can restore the Victorian for the same price as the demolition. The board has not been forthcoming with the truth. Their last meeting was a mockery: 35 people came, seven spoke for demolition, all the others spoke for preservation. I think the meeting was empty protocol."
But Brenda Barnette, president of the CCP board, begged to differ, saying everyone is working from the same feasibility study that said it will cost some $1.6-$2.7 million to renovate the building-and that is just too much. "The idea that we can restore it cost-effectively--I don't think that is true. I say this as someone who owns a Victorian and loves Victorians," said Barnette, who acknowledged that the San Francisco Heritage Foundation did approach the board. "I am not sure they refuted our costs; they recommended ways we could create an inferior building for less money."